Senior – What Discounts and Perks Can Senior Citizens Enjoy?

If you’re caring for a senior family member, update yourself on the senior citizen discounts in the Philippines. Equip yourself with the correct information to provide your senior relatives with proper care and to help them assert their rights under the law.

Additionally, you can get insights to prepare yourself for when you reach your golden years. While young and able, start familiarizing yourself with these senior citizen privileges.

What is the Senior Citizen Age in the Philippines?

The senior citizen age in the Philippines is 60 years old and above. This is based on the Republic Act 9994, commonly known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.[2]

Under R.A. 9994, all Filipino residents 60 years or older are automatically entitled to benefits and privileges as granted by law. This also extends to elderly dual citizens who have resided in the Philippines for at least six months.

What are the Perks for Senior Citizens in the Philippines?

Under R.A. 9994, elderly Filipinos get to enjoy these privileges in the Philippines:

  • Income tax exemption for minimum wage earners
  • Training fee exemption on socio-economic programs
  • Free medical and dental services in government facilities
  • Free flu and pneumococcal vaccinations for indigent senior citizens
  • Scholarships and financial assistance for seniors’ education in public and private schools
  • Retirement benefits from SSS, GSIS, and Pag-IBIG
  • Discounts in special programs for senior citizens
  • Express lanes for senior citizens in all government offices and commercial establishments

Read more:

👴 Medical Benefits for Senior Citizens

Aside from R.A. 9994, R.A. 10645 provides mandatory PhilHealth coverage for anyone above 60 years old.[3] This coverage is provided in addition to the 20% discount and VAT exemption every senior citizen is entitled to.

So, how much is the PhilHealth discount for senior citizens? Let’s say your elderly loved one requires confinement in a private hospital. The 20% discount and VAT exemption are deducted from the medical bill before the PhilHealth benefit is deducted.

Meanwhile, the No Balance Billing Policy applies in public hospitals, meaning senior patients no longer need to pay their bills in such hospitals.

Even without the Member Data Record (MDR), elderly patients can avail of treatments through their senior citizen ID or any government ID. However, it’s better to register as a senior citizen PhilHealth member to receive the benefits more seamlessly.[4]

For additional health coverage for your elderly loved ones, look for health cards for senior citizens. HMOs can help cover illnesses or other medical expenses not part of your PhilHealth plan.

Read more: Healthcare for Senior Citizens: List of Best Health Cards and Plans

👴 COVID-19 Benefits for Senior Citizens

The benefits for senior citizens in the Philippines also extend to COVID-related expenses. If your loved one gets hospitalized for testing positive, they get a 20% discount on the following hospital fees and charges:[5]

  • Immunization fees
  • Laboratory examination fees
  • Stewards/food handler fees
  • Permit to transport fees
  • Fees for certification of documents

👴 Cash Benefits for Senior Citizens

Senior citizens in the Philippines also get cash benefits from the government.

Under R.A. 10868, also known as the Centenarians Act of 2016,[6] senior citizens who reach 100 years old receive a cash incentive of ₱100,000. Per the recently signed Republic Act (RA) 11982, or the Expanded Centenarian Act, those who reach the ages of 80, 85, 90, and 95 will also receive a cash gift amounting to ₱10,000.[7]

Aside from these incentives, indigent senior citizens or elderly people below the poverty line also receive a monthly allowance of ₱1,000. This is a subsidy program by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to help fund the medical and daily needs of senior citizens with little to no stable source of income.[8]

Moreover, there are also senior citizen benefits specific to each city. For example, elderly residents of Makati and Taguig receive annual cash gifts ranging from ₱1,500 to ₱10,000, depending on the age bracket. They also get other perks like free maintenance medicines and free medical supplies such as prescription glasses and wheelchairs, among others.

👴 Commuting Benefits for Senior Citizens

Some local government units in the Philippines pamper senior citizens with unique perks, from free birthday cakes to free movies. There are also more practical and useful benefits for senior citizens, such as those for commuting. For instance, registered senior citizens enjoy free parking in cities like Cebu, Manila, Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, Pasig, and Quezon City.

👴 Queueing Benefits for Senior Citizens

In the Philippines, the benefits extend to queueing priority. The elderly have special lanes in banks, LRT and MRT stations, fast food restaurants, supermarkets, and drug stores. Even establishments without senior citizen lanes must prioritize elderly clients, as per R.A. 9994.

When seniors cut the line or get served first by cashiers, bank tellers, or government staff, they aren’t being inconsiderate or rude. They’re just exercising the privileges they have under the law. Be more considerate to elderly people, even those you’re not related to.

👴 Death Benefits for Senior Citizens

Families of deceased senior citizens can claim a 20% discount on funeral and burial services. This applies to hospital morgues, caskets or urns, and embalming and cremation services.

If the deceased senior citizen was a member of the SSS, the family could claim an SSS death benefit, provided that the late member had paid at least 36 months of contribution before the semester of their death.

Apart from SSS death benefits, the family or whoever paid for the burial expenses of the senior citizen can claim a funeral benefit. This benefit ranges from ₱20,000 to ₱60,000,[9] as long as the late member has at least 36 paid monthly contributions. It also depends on their average monthly salary credit.

What are the Senior Citizen Discounts in the Philippines?

Under R.A. 9994, elderly Filipinos aged 60 and above are entitled to a 20% discount and exempted from the value-added tax (VAT) on applicable goods and services for their exclusive use. These privileges apply to both cash and credit card payments:

  • Medicines: Generic and branded medicines, vitamins, and mineral supplements (with doctor’s prescription)
  • Medical supplies and equipment: Hearing aids, eyeglasses, wheelchairs, crutches, dentures, etc.
  • Medical and dental services in private facilities: Lab tests such as blood tests, x-rays, etc.
  • Professional fees of attending physicians and licensed health workers
  • Domestic travel fares, whether by air or sea 
  • Public land transportation fares: Jeepneys, buses, taxis, shuttle services, MRT, LRT, PNR, etc.
  • Hotels: Accommodation and amenities in hotels, beach resorts, mountain resorts, etc.
  • Restaurants: Food, beverages, dessert, and other consumables for dine-in, take-out, drive-thru, and delivery orders
  • Recreation centers: Rental and other fees for sports facilities such as gyms, badminton courts, tennis courts, ballroom dancing studios, bowling lanes, etc.
  • Places of leisure: Cinemas, museums, parks, theaters, concert halls, etc.
  • Funeral and burial services for deceased senior citizens: Hospital morgue, embalming, casket or urn, cremation, etc.

👵 Medical Expenses Discount

Pharmacies, hospitals, and medical institutions go to great lengths to grant the 20% senior citizen discount in the Philippines. Seniors can get the healthcare they deserve without breaking the bank as long as they present the requirements for senior citizen health benefits.

The discount and the VAT exemption apply to most senior citizens’ medical needs. Save 20% when buying generic and branded medicines, eyeglasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs, and dentures, as well as medical procedures, examinations, and other medical expenses.

This senior citizen discount on medicines and hospital bills applies to in-store and online transactions in the Philippines.

How to Avail of the Senior Citizen Discount on Medical Expenses

When buying medicines and other elderly care items from pharmacies, present your elder’s senior citizen ID, Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) purchase booklet, and prescription slips. When buying online, prepare a screenshot of the necessary documents and upload them to the merchant’s platform.

If availing of medical procedures from clinics and hospitals, present your elder’s senior citizen ID, OSCA purchase booklet, and other relevant medical documents when paying your outstanding bill.

👵 Utility Bills Discount

You can also avail of senior citizen discounts on utility bills, provided the accounts are registered under the name of the elderly. As long as the household is not consuming more than 100 kWh of electricity and 30 cubic meters of water, you can avail of a 5% discount on your electric and water bills.

How to Avail of the Senior Citizen Discount on Electric and Utility Bills

When paying for your bills at the nearest payment center, present your elder’s senior citizen ID, the utility bill under your elder’s name, and any proof of address.

👵 Discount on Groceries

Senior citizens enjoy special discounts on basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPC). Under the joint administrative order of the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Energy, this special discount on BNPC purchases was raised to ₱125 per week from ₱65 per week.[10] This means the new purchase cap is now ₱2,500, raised from the previous limit of ₱1,300 per week.

BNPCs are items consumed daily, such as the following:

  • Rice
  • Corn
  • Bread
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Cooking oil
  • Sugar
  • Fresh and processed milk
  • Processed meat
  • Sardines
  • Corned beef (except premium brands)

Note that this special discount is separate from the statutory 20% discount that senior citizens enjoy.

How to Avail of the Senior Citizen Discount on Groceries

To enjoy the senior citizen discount on groceries, seniors must bring their OSCA-issued senior citizen ID and OSCA purchase booklet when they shop in supermarkets, convenience stores, and drug stores. If you’re shopping for your parent or grandparent, present their senior citizen ID, OSCA booklet, and an authorization letter to avail of the discount.

The discount covers both in-store and online purchases. Sari-sari stores, cooperative stores, wet markets, and talipapa are exempted from the special discount.

👵 Discount on Dining Transactions

Taking your parents or grandparents out for lunch or dinner? Remember that seniors enjoy a 20% discount on restaurants and major fast food chains in the Philippines, such as Jollibee, McDonald’s, Chowking, KFC, Greenwich, and Mang Inasal.

They can also avail of the senior citizen discount in the Philippines on delivery apps like GrabFood and foodpanda, among others.

How to Avail of the Senior Citizen Discount at Restaurants

To claim this discount in-store, just present your elderly’s senior citizen ID when ordering or paying your bill. For online deliveries, just mention the senior citizen’s name and senior citizen number. Present the ID once your food arrives.

👵 GrabCar Discount

The Department of Transportation and LTFRB require ride-hailing services in the Philippines, like Grab, to provide the mandatory 20% discount to their senior customers.

How to Avail of the Senior Citizen Discount at GrabCar 

To get this senior citizen discount, create a Grab account via the Grab app. Submit a copy of your elderly’s senior citizen ID and a government-issued ID with their date of birth.

Grab will process the request within seven to 10 working days upon submission of requirements. Once processed, your senior citizen family member can start booking Grab rides. The discount will be automatically applied to the booking.

Before the ride, they must also present their senior citizen ID or valid government-issued ID (with their birthdate visible).

👵 Domestic Flights Discount

Planning a domestic trip with senior citizen family members? Avail of the 20% senior citizen discount and VAT exemption for online bookings.

AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines have implemented senior citizen discounts on their websites and mobile apps since September 2017. Previously, the discount was applied only to over-the-counter purchases at physical airline ticketing offices.

How to Avail of the Senior Citizen Discount on Domestic Flights

To avail of the discount, customers must enter their senior citizen ID number when booking a flight and present the ID upon check-in at the airport.

The discount applies only to regular fares for domestic flights. It doesn’t cover international flights, promo fares, baggage allowance, and other fees.


How to Compute the Senior Citizen Discount in the Philippines

Senior citizens in the Philippines are exempted from paying Value Added Tax (VAT). To get your VAT computation, divide the selling price by the VAT rate.

Below is a sample computation:

Product price: ₱500

VAT rate: 12%

Formula: Selling Price ÷ VAT Rate = VAT Exempt Sales

Total: ₱500 ÷ 1.12 = ₱446.43

Senior citizens are entitled to a 20% discount upon purchase of goods and services. To compute the discount, multiply the VAT-exempt sales by 20%:

Formula: VAT Exempt Sales x 20% = Senior Citizen Discount

Total:  ₱446.43 x 0.20 = ₱89.29

To identify the billable amount, subtract the senior citizen discount from the VAT-exempt sales:

Formula: VAT Exempt Sales – Senior Citizen Discount = Billable Amount

Total: ₱446.43 – ₱89.29 = ₱357.14


Senior Citizen Discounts in the Philippines: FAQs

Computing the senior citizen discount in the Philippines can be overwhelming with its many provisions and conditions. To avoid confusion and frustration, equip yourself with knowledge and share it with your elderly loved ones.

Here are common questions about the special perks for senior citizens:

1. What is a senior citizen OSCA ID?

Seniors must present their senior citizen ID, issued by the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA), to avail of their privileges under the Senior Citizen Act.

So, no senior citizen ID, no discount? Not really. Without it, they’re still entitled to a senior citizen discount if they present a government-issued ID that shows their age.

Without an OSCA ID, elderly customers may show any of the following valid IDs:

  • Passport
  • SSS ID or UMID card
  • Driver’s license
  • PRC ID
  • Voter’s ID
  • Postal ID

It’s illegal for businesses to honor only the senior citizen OSCA ID and refuse to give discounts when senior customers present another valid ID. In such a situation, seniors can demand their government-mandated discount.

2. Does the Senior Citizen Law apply everywhere in the Philippines?

Yes. If your senior parents or grandparents are denied the mandatory 20% discount anywhere in the Philippines, help them assert their rights as senior citizens to the store owner or manager. The Expanded Senior Citizens Act applies to all establishments in all cities and provinces in the Philippines.

3. How is the discount computed if a senior citizen dines in a restaurant with a non-senior citizen?

For dine-in orders, the 20% discount will apply only to the share of the senior citizen. Restaurants and food chains usually divide the cost of the shared meal by the number of diners at the table and apply the discount to the share of the senior citizen/s present.

4. Should the senior citizen be present to avail of the discount? 

Ideally, your senior relative should present the OSCA ID to the establishment. But as a relative or authorized individual, you can avail of the discount for them if you have the elder’s senior citizen ID and other required documents.

5. Can a non-senior-citizen companion transact and avail of a discount on behalf of a senior citizen?

If your parents or grandparents are bedridden or too weak to buy their food and medicine, you may claim the senior citizen discount on their behalf, as long as they’re the ones who will use the discounted products and services.

To get the 20% discount on behalf of a senior citizen, a duly authorized representative must present these documents when paying for a purchase:

  • Senior citizen ID or any government ID
  • OSCA Purchase Booklet
  • The representative’s government ID
  • Signed authorization letter from the senior citizen

6. Can senior citizens get a regular discount on top of the government-mandated 20% discount?

The Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 states that when seniors purchase something on a promo, they can get only either of the two discounts, whichever is higher.

The same goes for elderly PWDs. They’re entitled to either the senior citizen discount or the PWD discount, but not both.

7. Can senior citizens get discounts for online transactions?

Yes. Per a recent mandate by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, online platforms must provide the said discounts to senior citizens. While a signature isn’t necessary if the purchase is made online, the senior citizen or PWD ID card number still is.

8. Can foreigners avail of the senior citizen discount?

No. Under R.A. 9994, only Filipino citizens aged 60 years and above who are residents of the Philippines can enjoy the said privileges.

Final Thoughts

If there’s one thing to love about being a Filipino citizen, it’s the sheer number of benefits for the elderly. It’s a testament to how much we value and cherish the older members of our family and community.

Show your love and care to your parents, grandparents, and relatives by ensuring they get their senior citizen discount in the Philippines and other benefits under the law.